Bright Spot: Teen Outreach Program

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This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


Detailed Description

The Teen Outreach Program is a program for high school-aged students, consisting of three interrelated components: supervised community service, classroom discussion of service experiences, and classroom discussion and activities related to key social and developmental tasks of adolescence. The program is designed to prevent adolescent problem behaviors by helping adolescents ages 12 through 18 to develop healthy behaviors, life skills, and a sense of purpose. The goal is to reduce teens' rates of pregnancy, course failure, and academic suspension by enhancing protective factors.

Expected Outcomes

The Teen Outreach Program has demonstrated results in lowering the risk of suspension, lowering the risk of course failure, lowering the risk of pregnancy, and teens who participated in the program were observed to have a lower risk of dropping out of school.

Failing Forward Moments

For additional information about TOP, please visit the program website here.

Cost Details

As of July 2014, the cost of this intervention is as follows: Based on estimates, partners can deliver TOP with fidelity for between $410-$640 per young person annually $26,000 for first year network costs to become a TOP Replication Partner $6,000 in subsequent years (to serve up to 50 TOP; Clubs) initial fee includes training one person in your organization who will be able to train TOP; facilitators; up to 10 sets of TOP; curriculum; a bi-annual site visit; certification within TOPnet; and access to Wyman's data/evaluation tool for each TOP; club $500 per set for Additional Changing Scenes curriculum (Not required) $750 per participant for $750 per participant (required for those who do not participate in the training of trainers) $75 per hour, plus travel expenses if necessary for technical assistance (Not required)

For the latest cost details, please contact TOP directly.

Key Steps for Implementation

TOP is made available in communities through organizations or schools that contract with and are trained by Wyman to replicate the program in their city, state, or sector. These entities are Certified TOP Replication Partners, who take responsibility for the training, fidelity monitoring, and technical assistance of local providers of the program. To become a Certified Replication Partner requires an application process, a contract with Wyman, and a first-year fee for training, program materials, data management, and the first year's site visit. The Wyman Center also provides Certified Replication Partners and those in their networks access to TOPnet Online as part of the partner's fees. TOP partners and providers ensure a minimum of one session per week for 9 months, with no fewer than 25 sessions (1-2 hours each).

Other Key Requirements

One participant per site is required to attend the training of trainers, although more may attend at the site's discretion. New sites are encouraged to train their own facilitators, but outside facilitator trainings are available through other sites.

Special Funding

Funding for start-up and first year of operational expenses.


Teen Outreach Program Facilitator Training is designed for those who will directly deliver TOP to teens. The primary goal of this training is to prepare facilitators to begin their TOP club(s) and to know where they can access additional information and support. Those supervising the implementation of TOP may also benefit from attending so they are clear on the messages delivered in training. The TOP Training of Trainers is designed for those who will deliver the TOP Facilitator Training in their network. The primary goal of this training is to prepare trainers to be able to deliver the content and approach of the TOP Facilitator Training and to share where additional information and support may be found. Those supervising TOP trainers may also benefit from attending so they are clear on the messages delivered in the training.

Types of Staff

The program is most commonly implemented by youth workers, classroom teachers, or guidance personnel who have been trained to facilitate the discussions outlined in the curriculum.

Return on Investment Details

The Brookings Institution found that for every $1 spent on Wyman's TOP, $1.29 is returned back to the community. This return on investment is related to the reduction of teen pregnancy and factors in the savings by improved school outcomes. With a relatively little expense, schools or community centers can run Wyman TOP with little maintenance and start-up costs.

Outcome Measures

  • Decrease in teen pregnancy rates improvements in academic achievement
  • Decreased academic suspension
  • Twice annual report by facilitators on program delivery metrics
  • Program and school attendance records
  • Student grade cards
  • Suspension rates as reported by youth and school
  • Youth reports of: pro-social attitudes and behaviors incidences of pregnancy or fathering of a child
  • Youth reports of: interest and engagement in community service their level of assurance in handling challenges achievement of skills in planning and implementing projects
  • Facilitators report: hours of service per youth in a school year.
  • Youth reports of: their perception of caring and understanding by TOP; facilitators physical and emotional safety in TOP; level of belonging to a positive peer group

Process Measures

Preventing teen pregnancy and academic failure:

  • Experimental evaluation of a developmentally based approach
  • Change in youth's future orientation and problem solving
  • Change in youth's attitude toward and engagement in school
  • Change in youth's knowledge and skills in community engagement
  • Change in students; knowledge and skill in service learning
  • Change in youths' skills in planning and goal setting
  • Change in youth's sense of empathy
  • Change in students; sense of supportive relationships
  • Change in students; sense of physical and emotional safety

 Related Topics

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Mental and Behavioral Health